The creation of a loss and damage fund is a milestone, but a 1.5C limit to the global temperature rise looks even further out of reach
The Cop process often seems to encapsulate the broader global reaction to climate breakdown. Leaders make grand but vague pledges of action; fossil fuel lobbyists (600 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this year) schmooze and press governments into maintaining the status quo; and scientists, civil society groups and those most affected by the climate emergency have to scream to be heard at all. The results are predictable: indecision, evasion, obstruction and buck-passing followed by desperately needed – but desperately inadequate – last-minute action.
Given the utter disarray evident as late as Saturday evening, the final outcome of Cop27 is a relief, and in one regard even a cause for celebration. The agreement to establish a loss and damage fund is a historic breakthrough, demanded for three decades by developing countries. The devil will as usual lie in the detail: who will fund it? But it should help to provide the financial assistance poorer nations need for rescuing and rebuilding as extreme weather pummels their populations and infrastructure. And it comes despite the sustained opposition of the US and (until the eleventh hour) the EU.